JEDDAH: Forty-year-old Saudi citizen Abdul Rahman Al-Atwi, who was in an Israeli jail for six straight years, has been freed and reached the United States, according to his lawyer.
Al-Atwi’s lawyer Katib Al-Shammari told reporters on Monday that “the 40-year-old Abdul Rahman Al-Atwi had reached the United States on Nov. 15 after years of unjustified and illegal imprisonment in Israel. His release comes following continued deliberation with UN refugee agency.”
Al-Shammari said, “The case was given a different dimension beyond its actual scope of illegal border crossing, particularly when Al-Atwi had already been tried for border crossing and sentenced to three months. However, after his sentence was over, the Israeli authorities kept Al-Atwi in detention illegally.”
“The release of Al-Atwi by the Israeli authorities and enabling him to leave the occupied Palestinian territories is an end to this illegal detention and to the inhuman treatment and practices he faced in an entity that claims to follow democracy and holds out respect for human rights,” said Al-Shammari.
Back in 2005 Israeli forces arrested the Saudi citizen Al-Atwi, after he allegedly crossed into Israel from Egypt. In March of 2005, an Israeli court sentenced him to three months imprisonment.
In June of this year Arab News reported quoting Abdul Nasser Farawana, director of the Palestinian National Authority’s department of statistics, that Al-Atwi’s case had been resolved and that the detainee had contacted his family through the Red Cross.
In April 4, 2006, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal confirmed that Israel was holding the Saudi national and that Riyadh was in contact with the UN to secure his release.
Al-Atwi went on three hunger strikes ranging from 70 to 90 days since his imprisonment, according to earlier reports published in Arab News. Before his arrest, Al-Atwi was living in a flat in Al-Muhandiseen district in Egypt.
His family claimed that he lost his way on a hiking trip in Sinai. Al-Atwi is divorced with a daughter. He worked in the Civil Defense before moving to work for a company in Makkah.